Objectifying Women: Are we Crossing the Border to Mexico?

Full Body ScanNew Orleans The old warning, “Look Don’t Touch,” seems to be the likely compromise on the TSA pat down versus x-ray screening controversy.  A woman’s quote in the Times that “I didn’t really expect her to touch my vagina through my pants” was harrowing especially since the search was for a pocket tissue and hair band on an elementary school teacher from Pohdunk, Washington.  Being a frequent flyer, I’m soft on the issue of screening.  When I’m in the air, I want to stay there until I land.  I’m funny that way.  If the price of that is a little delay, some metal detection, even the air machine, and the sloppy pat down in international airports, I can hang.  Ok, I’m not for folks touching my junk, but I’ve been lucky maybe.

Not everyone is.  Looking at the issue from a woman’s perspective, I started to worry that the insensitivity might be moving the wrong direction in these days when the dark cloud is covering so much of our culture and politics coming in hard from the right.  A piece by Michelle Garcia at www.racialicious.com cross-posted from WIMN’s Voices gave me a lot to worry about when it reminded me of the way that class bias in Mexico exploits the poor as drowning in sex and violence, thereby objectifying whatever anyone might want to think or do, and certainly giving license to government and others to ignore the problem and create “pretend solutions.”  Travelers are similar.  Working men and women catching an air-bus, so who cares, right?  The rich can go private planes, private airports, limos to the door, while we fly the pigeons of the sky.  Those women probably should have stayed home, if they are going to complain, right?  Where they belong! Eeeeck!

Sister Garcia’s piece is excellent, balanced, and well reasoned, and certainly gave me a lot to consider in trying wrapping my arms around a number of these issues here, and in Mexico for that matter, though substitute films and TV for newspapers, and it’s a push.  I can’t help but share this:

Video courtesy of Tell ‘Em Who You Are

“He’s dead and she’s half naked. Two images I encounter at every newspaper stand in Mexico City– blood and babes. A magazine cover shows a marijuana leaf and a stiletto heel in the shape of a gun. One newspaper regularly divides its front page with a preening bikini clad woman and cadavers. I’m compelled to believe that the graphicness of the individual images is enhanced when harmonized.

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Last Time in the Air

George Clooney in Up in the AirChicago           A movie with George Clooney and the fascinating Montreal born director, Jason Reitman, is getting rave reviews about the life of a professional traveler who flies full-time almost to go around the country firing people and loves the perks of life on the road in a super elite status.  And, then there’s life for the rest of us on the road…as I was reminded on my what is always my iconic “last business trip of the year,” where I express my thanks for having made it to another year end.

            It seemed golden.  No snow in Niagara on the Canadian side.  A great last session going through the lists, setting goals, and locking down the calendar with the ACORN Canada head organizers before jumping into action for the border crossing.  It should have been an omen when Judy Duncan, crack head organizer for ACORN Canada suddenly couldn’t put her hand to passport as we prepared to drive south.  With that momentary distraction averted we made our usual bumbling exit unable to find the Rainbow Bridge on our first shot though it is hardly 50 yards from the entrance to the hotel parking lot, but that was another momentary delay, and we were on our way.

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